Updated: 23/11/16 : 12:06:42
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World :: US stealth destroyer USS Zumwalt breaks down again

The US Navy's biggest and most advanced warship has been towed into port after breaking down in the Panama Canal.

The USS Zumwalt cost more than $4.4bn(3.5bn) to build and is equipped with the latest stealth technology.

It only came into commission in October this year, and was on its way to San Diego to start the activation of its weapons system.

But it developed an engineering problem as it sailed through the Panama Canal and lost power.

US Naval Institute publication USNI News reported that the crew saw water getting into bearings that connect electrical motors to the vessel's driveshafts.

The 610ft warship also suffered slight damage when it hit lock walls in the canal.

Fleet commander Vice Admiral Nora Tyson said: "The timeline for repairs is being determined now, in direct co-ordination with Naval Sea Systems and Naval Surface Forces.

"The schedule for the ship will remain flexible to enable testing and evaluation in order to ensure the ship's safe transit to her new home port in San Diego."

It is estimated the repairs could take up to 10 days.

It is not the first time the destroyer has had problems.

In September a sea water leak was reported in the engines as it was sailing from shipbuilders General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine to a Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia.

And the ship suffered engineering problems shortly after it was commissioned on 15 October. Sailings were delayed while repairs and tests were carried out on its propulsion equipment.

The destroyer is intended to be used in shallow coastal waters, and will support forces on shore as well as conducting anti-aircraft and naval surface warfare.

It features electric propulsion, new radar and sonar, powerful missiles and guns and a stealth design to help it avoid being detected.

The USS Zumwalt operates with a much smaller crew than current destroyers, and is the first of a new generation of warships for the US navy.

It is named after Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, who is credited with building the modern US Navy.

Two other Zumwalt class destroyers are currently under construction.